Playworx - 22/04/2015

1 Evaluation of Playworx

How well placed is Playworx to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The service needs support to further develop strategic planning, self review, programme planning and assessment, professional leadership and management, and appraisal processes.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


The Playworx service philosophy is based on the belief that ‘play is our work and work is our play’. The programme aims to encourage children to be confident learners who care for themselves and one another. Leaders and teachers promote a sense of belonging for children. The centre owner is committed to providing education and care at a minimum cost to families.

Playworx is one of three services under the same private ownership. This service is located in an area of high transience and low participation in early childhood education. At the time of this ERO review, eight children were enrolled, most of whom identified as Māori. There has been a significant decrease in the roll since the 2012 ERO review. The centre provides all-day and sessional care and education for children from two years to school age. It is open daily from 8.00am until 3.00pm.

There is one full-time qualified teacher and two part-time unqualified educators who share a teacher role.

The previous ERO reviews in 2011 and 2012 identified concerns about the quality of education and care, the directors’ management of the service, professional leadership, teaching practice, and planning, assessment and evaluation. While progress has been made in some areas over the last three years, there remains an urgent need for more organised management and leadership of centre operations, personnel management, and aspects of the programme.

The Review Findings

Children are highly engaged in play and learning. They participate in a wide choice of interesting activities, and enjoy exploring the outdoors and experiencing physical challenges. Children take responsibility for their self-care, assist in setting up and maintaining the environments, and support their peers in tuakana-teina relationships. They demonstrate well-developed skills in art and music and take an interest in the natural world. Children have ready access to well-resourced indoor and outdoor environments.

Teachers have caring and trusting relationships with children. They know the children well and are responsive to their interests and ideas. Teachers’ interactions with children promote their oral language skills and guide them to develop positive social skills. Literacy and numeracy are well supported and children demonstrate an interest in books. There is a commitment to including te reo and tikanga Māori. Teachers plan the daily programme to follow children’s interests and promote new learning. However, outcomes for children could be strengthened by identifying intentional teaching strategies to continue and extend their development. Assessment records need to more consistently and clearly identify children’s learning and evaluate their progress over time.

Parents are welcome in the centre at any time. Teachers seek their aspirations for their children and work with them to support and strengthen their children’s wellbeing, confidence and learning. Through individual profile books and photographic displays of learning, parents are well informed about their children’s participation in centre activities and experiences.

The service is managed by two directors who are responsible for the centre’s administration and governance. They have yet to implement effective processes for self review and staff appraisal, and there is a lack of clarity about staff roles and responsibilities.

Key Next Steps

ERO has identified the following areas for further development to sustain and improve the quality of service management and leadership, and outcomes for children.

  • establish strategic goals that clearly identify priorities towards enacting and achieving the centre philosophy and purpose. These need to be supported by appropriate actions and resources to enable them to be achieved.
  • continue the review and development of planning, assessment and evaluation practices that consistently interpret and analyse children’s learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Playworx completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)
  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)
  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

Actions for compliance

ERO found areas of non-compliance in Playworx. To meet agreed accountabilities the service provider must ensure that:

  1. An agreed process of regular and ongoing self review for all centre operations, focused on identifying strategic priorities for improving outcomes for children, is implementedLicensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008: GMA6
  2. Roles and responsibilities of management and staff are clarified in order to improve relational trust, communication and collaborative ways of working. Staff members require an allocation of time to implement leadership expectations, critically reflect on their practice, and develop strategies for improvement. Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008: GMA7
  3. A process for effective, regular and ongoing staff appraisal is implemented. This needs to be linked to the Registered Teachers’ Criteria and focused on improving staff capabilities and outcomes for children. Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008: GMA7
  4. Individual hazards during excursions are accurately and fully identified and managed. Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008: HS12

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Playworx will be within two years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 April 2015

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

21 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 5

Girls 3

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

22 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

March 2012


Supplementary Review

February 2011


Education Review

November 2009

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

  • Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children
  • Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children
  • Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children
  • Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.